How do you keep from the trauma and anxiety overtaking you when you have to come to the decision to put Mom in long term care?

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The "call" I have been waiting for for 7 years finally came the day after Christmas (Dec 26). My mother attempted to raise herself off the couch (not using the walker which was right in front of her) and while trying to get into a standing position, became wobbly and dropped like a bag of rocks onto the living room floor (rug). I'm sure she hit the walker on the way down. She is frail and 86 years old and could not even begin to "catch" herself.

If you've followed me, you know my 65-year old brother has lived with our mother all his life in her home and my sister is basically non-existent when it comes to our Mom's needs and care. My brother is beside himself for not "being there" (like he would have caught her or something) and he feels horribly guilty. I do not blame him at all. For the last 7 years since my Dad died, my brother has basically been a warm body to look after my mother and take her places (shopping, out to eat, and the like) but I took care of all of Mom's financial issues, doctor appointments, etc. etc.

The fall caused her to break her left leg femur above the knee (both knees are completely without cartilage and rub bone on bone). She had emergency surgery a week ago Sunday (Dec 27) and has a plate and screws in her leg. Her leg is NON-weightbearing for at LEAST 12 weeks, then she will begin rehab (which is a long shot as she has no muscle mass, tone and before the fall shuffled (not walked) at the pace of a snail). She is currently in a rehab/nursing home facility, getting lifted out of bed with a hoyer lift, can barely communicate, cannot effectively use a call button (like the aides would not come running anyway), and needs to be toileted as she is incontinent for urine and stool, and needs to be fed as this trauma has reduced her to such weakness that she is almost in a fog daily.

Today, the rehab center called me this morning and stated they lost one of her hearing aids! Good God. The woman is profoundly deaf and the 2 hearing aids she wears are her only way to hear ANYTHING. Now she only has one.

I've also had to deal with my 89-year old mother-in-law (MIL) whom we had to take to the ER 2 days BEFORE Christmas because she has slowly stopped eating and says she wants to die. So over the last 2 weeks I have my Mom and my MIL in 2 DIFFERENT hospitals, running back and forth, then finally getting them both in the same rehab facility last weekend. They are in different rooms but the rooms are next to each other. My MIL does "waffle" between wanting to die and then in the next breath wants to "make it to her 90th birthday next April." If she starts eating again and does some rehab, she could quite possible go home in a few weeks. However, she could turn on a dime and decide to again not eat. She is way more lucid than my Mom, however, my Mom is in a more critical condition.

I have been going to the rehab/nursing home daily to oversee her care. My mother was transferred to the rehab facility last Saturday (Jan 2) at 6 PM on a holiday weekend and as you can imagine, the staff was bare bones and totally non-chalant about having a new admission. No one greeted us or told us ANYTHING about any procedures. They just moved my mother into a bed and it was up to us to start hunting for staff to ask questions. It was a friggin' nightmare! My mother was frightened and disoriented and by the time I left there a couple of hours later, I wanted to go home, throw my loveseat out on the front lawn, order a hospital bed and care for my mother myself. I was in tears.

I have retained a crack Elder Law Attorney to deal with all of the legal chaos this entails. My mother (at the time of her fall) has no will, no POA, no Health Care Proxy, no life estate, NO NOTHING.

AND on top of all this, I had to put my dear pet bunny rabbit of 12 years to sleep the week before. At this point, I'm ready to throw myself in front of a speeding bus. I take Xanax on a daily basis just to cope. Each week I go to church I am sitting in the pews sobbing and just praying to the Lord to please give me strength to deal with all of this. My husband and I are the only "competent" family members in both of our dysfunctional families that have even the remotest possibility of handling our aging parents. Please pray for us.

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Crushing grief, illness, and loss....so sorry!
We all are here, reading about the difficult times-makes ours seem less-giving us the compassion to pray, and check back in with you.
Brace yourself, hold each other as you are going through this.
Hoping you will have some 'help2day!'
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Thank you Jeanne and Pam! I knew I could count on your positive, encouraging and supportive responses. Pam ~ based upon your responses to previous posters and your profile, I am quite certain we live very in the same area (WNY). And thank you for your empathy to my poor bunny's demise. With all I've had to deal with this holiday season, my bunny was always there to come home to and love me unconditionally. Just holding him provided me such comfort. Now he's gone and stupid as it may sound, my husband and I just cried like babies when we made the agonizing decision to euthanize him. He was suffering and I just couldn't bear it anymore. I know I did the right thing but I feel like crap anyway. So, thank you dear friends for your compassion. I truly appreciate it.
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Get with the social worker from the rehab and sit down for a long talk. It IS his or her job to HELP with all the stressful things you have to go through for their care. Have them help and do not let them bully into an early discharge. I cannot imagine what you are going through. Stay strong, remember you and your husband ARE in charge. I hope your legal problems get straightened out fast!
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You are actually doing remarkably well. I am so sorry about bunny. Getting the moms into the same facility is a big plus. Get to know the head nurse on that wing. She will be a big help to you. Make sure she has your cell number if she needs you.
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grrr ... you are NOT just sitting in a frazzle stew ...
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help2day, by heart goes out to you. What a traumatic holiday season you've experienced, and the trauma isn't over yet!

How do you keep from being overtaken by the stressful events? You already have. You are taking positive action for getting legal matters in order. You are visiting Mother in the rehab facility. You are going to church. Yes, you are frazzled, but you are just sitting in a frazzle stew, you are seeing what needs to be done and doing it. I can't think of a more helpful approach.

You'll need to be on the lookout for signs that you are overdoing it. With your Mother being admitted on a holiday weekend she did more attention from family. Now that she is settled in (or when she is) it may be prudent to cut the visiting back a little.

If your mother needs to be in a nursing home when she is done with rehab, you will probably have the option of having her stay in her current facility or finding a different one. Doing research about that is another positive task you can do. Not necessarily this week, but before the rehab period is up.

If you and your husband can help each other out with your mothers, that is another positive step toward avoiding melt down.

I am sorry that you both come from dysfunctional families. But I am glad each mother has someone (you) functional to rely on!

It seems to me that some crying is normal in this situation. Only if it becomes a barrier to moving forward would I be concerned, and then perhaps seeking a little support from your pastor or a professional counselor might be in order.
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Oh, and unless God himself comes down and lays his healing hands on her, it is probably 99% likely she will never come "home" again and will have to be placed in skilled nursing care. I can't WAIT for the day I have to break THAT news to her. I will have to cross that bridge when I come to it. Thanks for your support. You all have always been there for me.
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